Role of Rapid Re-housing in Responding to Homelessness

NJ Rapid Re-housing Uses EA Funds to Provide Case Management to Households in Housing Receiving TRA

Rapid re-housing is a short-term, crisis response intervention intended to minimize a household’s time spent homeless. The approach aims to help people exit homelessness and stabilize in housing as quickly and efficiently as possible.

It provides housing search services, short-term financial assistance (e.g., help paying rent and move-in costs), and case management services. Research on rapid re-housing is still emerging.

A new paper “Rapid Re-housing’s Role in Responding to Homelessness” from The Urban Institute reviews the evidence to date, which shows that the model has been successful in helping families and veterans exit homeless shelters to live in housing units in the private rental market faster than they would on their own and for lower cost.

  • Most families and veterans do not become homeless again; though many struggle with ongoing housing affordability, like other low-income renters.
  • These findings suggest that rapid re-housing could be a scalable and cost-effective crisis response intervention that could help communities address homelessness more effectively.
  • The Rapid Re-Housing strategy proves successful in helping communities’ cost effectively reduce homelessness.
  • Homeless households entering the emergency shelter and transitional housing system immediately receive services to connect them with permanent housing.
  • Once they locate housing, households receive temporary rental assistance and short term, intensive case management to help them stabilize and maintain their housing.

New Jersey uniquely uses Emergency Assistance (EA) funds to provide intensive case management to households placed in permanent housing through Temporary Rental Assistance (TRA) and created a statewide opportunity to implement rapid re-housing.

  • In Mercer County, the Mercer County Board of Social Services utilizes a single point of entry model to assess and prioritize rapid rehousing resources for families.
  • The Board of Social Services commits to intensive case management, wraparound services, and linkage to other community supports to ensure success.
  • Community leaders embrace the rapid rehousing model and dedicate resources for housing assistance and client centered inter-agency collaboration.

In an October 10, 2018 blog post, the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Sharon McDonald writes about why the impact of effective rapid re-housing matters.

“First, reducing the amount of time spent homeless matters a lot on an individual level — no one desires a longer stay in homelessness, and it can have significant negative impacts on parents and children alike. Recent research reported in Pediatrics indicated that episodes of homelessness lasting longer than six months are associated with increased risk of hospitalization, poorer health, and developmental delays among infants.

But it also matters a great deal on a system level. When people spend less time homeless, shelter beds turn over more frequently. It’s a matter of math.”

Urban Institute Report

Rapid Re-housing’s Role in Responding to Homelessness

NAEH Bloig

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